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923 Ratings


Directed by Sean Baker
United States, 2012


Jane, 21, is a young dreamer swanning around California’s San Fernando Valley. After a confrontation at a yard sale, Jane finds a muddled motive to befriend the woman she has argued with, a bad-tempered and suspicious 85-year-old widow named Sadie. After Jane insists, an unlikely friendship begins.

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Starlet Directed by Sean Baker

Awards & Festivals

Locarno International Film Festival

2012 | Winner: Junior Jury Award (International Competition)

Independent Spirit Awards

2013 | Winner: Robert Altman Award

2013 | Nominee: John Cassavetes Award

SXSW Film Festival

2012 | Winner: Narrative Competition (Special Jury Award)

In Starlet, Baker gave up the cinematographer reigns to Radium Cheung and the result was his most visually refined film yet. This teaming up is a major turning point. Baker’s own cinematography on his first two films was rough but sharp, creating beauty out of of-the-moment documentary-style shaky cam with a consciousness—but Cheung finds a refined balance between the realism that has always driven Baker, and a more rigorous formal approach tailored to the subject of the films.
June 27, 2015
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Starlet is a film of small, humane gestures set within a world extreme displays of physicality. And yet what we’re left with isn’t images of exploitation or perversity, but ones of warmth and camaraderie. And in that sense, the film is one of the most unexpectedly moving love stories American cinema has given us in quite some time.
May 07, 2013
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It is precisely this irresolute tension between giving and taking, self(ishness) and selfless(ness) that fuels a story whose very dubiousness represents the poetic fortitude of a subtly perceptive and penetrating film. It is a film that explores the existential contradictions pulsing at the core of a pornified society, where people use each other by expediency, never revealing their true motivations yet always eager to simulate.
November 09, 2012
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